Ah, election season—when politicians remember that they once had guts. President Obama swung hard at GOP presidential hopefuls last night, blasting them for not condemning the crowd that booed a gay soldier at a Republican debate on Sept. 22, reports the Hill. "We don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s OK for a stage full of political leaders—one of whom could end up being the president of the United States—being silent when an American soldier is booed," Obama said at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights organization.
"You want to be commander in chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it's not politically convenient," said the president. (Of course, Rick Santorum did later condemn the booing of the soldier, claiming he could not hear them on stage). Obama, who campaigned on "the urgency of now" in 2008, has been criticized by many liberal and gay rights activists for the pace of his reforms. "I said I would never counsel patience," said Obama at the dinner. "But what I also said, that while it might take time—more time than anyone would like—we are going to make progress; we are going to succeed." He cited his administration's progress on hate crimes legislation, the ratcheting down of DOMA, and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. (Read more President Obama stories.)